Consign Your Best Items with Lelands. We Also Pay Cash on the Spot! Learn More Here.
This powerful oil on black velvet is one of the more important works relating to "The Greatest." Presented as a gift to Muhammad Ali by Franco Gaskin, the "Picasso of Harlem," this internationally-known painter is celebrated for his "New Art" form of "Outsider Art." Decades before Banksy, he started as basically a Harlem street artist, painting on the metal gates of storefronts before moving on to more diversified and important works in a variety of unusual mediums such as this one. This piece bridges the gaps of fine art (in the quality of the work itself) and 1970s Harlem (on black velvet). Muscular portrait of Muhammad Ali inside the Black Panther fist represents Black Power. Detail is extraordinary: from the wrinkles of his powerful hand to his facial expression; Ali is simply human perfection. Almost as important as what is on the front is what is on the back. Energetically inscribed in thick black ink by the artist, "To the Great Ali. Enjoy this painting as much as I enjoyed painting it for you. By Franco Gaskin The Great Sept 29/77...Muhammad Ali is to America as strength is to the POWER OF THE PEOPLE." Power of/to the people crosses all lines: James Brown in a lyric, John Lennon in the title of a song, the Black Panthers in a slogan, all the way to Public Enemy chanting it years later. Muhammad Ali presented this painting with pride to Herbert Muhammad's personal photographer, who we obtained it from. It was given as a symbol of respect and admiration for his good work as one of Ali's principal photographers. Overall measures 31.5x45" and is in Excellent condition.
Other past auction items that may be of interest to you.